Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 12: One runs out of titles....

Today's front page story for Irving press was a about a woman from Britain who just flew all the way to Moncton so she could see her favourite band. Ther rest of section 1 goes down from there.

In world news, a big story is that police in Indiana have released a sketch of a suspect in the killing of 2 girls in that state. And Mrs. Trudeau gave a speech urging girls to have confidence. The news YOU need to know. And, apparently,  there are  no wars in the world, nobody starving, and no refugees.

This is a newspaper designed to create a population of the living dead.
But let's take a look at what Canadians have been fighting for. We'll start with Korea. Why did the U.S. want a war with Korea. Was it because the North was a cruel and aggessive dictatorship? No, thatt wouldn't make sense because the South was a cruel and aggressive                                                                                                                                                                                             dictatorship, too. ( And the south remained a cruel dictatorship for many years after that war. The U.S. also cooperated in the murder of the elected president of Viietnam, and helped to establish a military dictatorship. How come our news media never mentioned any of this?)

Canadians died in Korea for reasons that had nothing to do with democracy.     (And, for The Canadian Legion, I am not criticizing those who died. They went because they had been pumped full of silly propaganda about how they were fighting for country.)

The Canadian Legion, if it really respected our veterans and those who died should be criticizing those who sent Canadians to fight an American war. The Legion should be defending the veterans. But, almost invariably, it defends the people who abused the veterans.

The U.S fought the Korean War because it wanted a foothold suited to being a staging point for a war on China. And it lost.

And Canadians fought because....we had become a colony to fight American wars as we had once been a colony to fight British wars.

On Nov. 11, we must remember those who died in Korea because of our careless entry into that war. And we must apologize to them and to those who died in two world wars because fighting American wars was not the future they had fought for.

Now let's take a look at Afghanistan and Iraq. Were they a threat to Canada? Were they a threat to the U.S.? Iraq obviously was not. President Bush lied when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And he knew he was lying. (Does anybody even know what that vague (weapon of mass destruction  term means? Just about every army in the world has weapons of mass destruction. A machine-gun is a weapon of mass destruction.) A lie.  And that lie was used to murder one and a half million people.

And why did the U.S. invade Afghanistan? Because of the attack on the world trade centre?  Well, actually it  had nothing to do with that. And there is no evidence that Afghanistan had anything to do with it. And here's the interesting thing about those two wars.

They were planned as early as 1998, three years BEFORE the attack on the world trade centre.   (Gee. You'ld think the irving papers would know all about that.)

They were planned by a group of very far right wing Republicans (including George Bush's brother) who wanted world conquest. Almost all of them would end up dominating George Bush's cabinet. All that was needed was an excuse. And 9/11 was a gift from Heaven so far as the plotters were concerned.

The called themselves Project for the New American Century. You can find lots about them on the web, most of it from excellent sources.   (I guess they don't have computers at the irving offices.)    

The New American Century was the beginning of, so far, almost twenty years of attempted world conquest, mass murder and mass starvation. It has brought us to the edge of world war. It has killed millions as it extended to Syria, Libya - and provocation along Russian and Chinese borders. It has also, as foreign policy, proved a disaster.

In short, according to the international law our veterans were told they have been fighting for, the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen are illegal. None of those was a threat to Canada or the U.S. This was a power play by the greedy and blatantly immoral. And Canadians bought into it. That's why Canadians have killed in Afghanistan and Libya, and are now playing roles Iraq and Syria and Latvia.

We told our young people they were risking their lives "to fight for their country".  That's the trouble with propaganda slogans.

You think it's automatically good to fight for one's country? So on Nov. 11, you'll pay honour to the Naziis and the Japanese, too? And to the people who ran the death camps? And you'll honour Hitler for his leadership and patriotism?
(Incidentally, I wonder why, on Nov. 11, we don't honour those Hurons and Iroquois and Cree and Metis who fought to defend their country and their lands from our European ancestors.  That's a serious suggestion. In fact, they, the French at Quebec, and the Canadians of 1812 are the only ones who have actually defended Canada from attack. )  

We should certainly remember our veterans on Nov. 11. In particular, we should remember that we told them they were fighting for a better world. Becoming a puppet for the American empire has nothing to do with a better world. We have abandoned what we said they fought for. And the first organization that should recognize that is the Canadian Legion.

We have now, by the way, created refugees by the tens of millions all over the world. Europe dumps them in the vile sinkholes it calls 'camps'. Canada accepts a small number. The U.S. accepts very, very few of those people whose lives have been destroyed the greed of the American wealthy.

We are already starving millions to death in Africa and the middle east. I  wonder what it will be like there as climate change takes  hold, agriculture in the region is destroyed. We will soon be talking of hundreds of millions of refugees.
Heard of any big business leaders who are taking action on this?
The death of a political prisoner in China is a reminder that China is not the success story and model that some people think it. The communist state it claimed to be never was. And it has never even tried to be a democracy.
Western big business just loves it, though. And a large part of the Chinese economy is based on western businesses which have transferred their operations to China. Hey, with workers available at a dollar a day and less, China is even better than Guatemala.
Universities often have professors who spend their careers kissing up to the very, very wealthy. And there are university presidents who help them because it can bring grants to the university.

There may not be a solution to this problem. Americans are so heavily propagandized from birth about their destiny to rule the world, and an imagined partnership between capitalism and freedom that they don't really any idea of what an alternative should be.
It's riding for a heavy fall. And, possibly, a very violent one.
Our news media haven't told us much about the American siege of Mosul. Or about its use of 'weapons of mass destruction'. Wasn't that the evil act that the U.S. claimed to attack Iraq for back in the Bush days?
The U.S. has by far the largest military budget in the world.It's part of an old game. The 'defence' industry have been buying American politicians since 1945. That hasn't done much for the success of the U.S. in wars. But, oh, it's great for profits by the defence industry, and payoffs for politicians. And that's why Canada is being pushed onto the defence spending wagon. Trump wants it for Canada to spend on the American defence industry - and with some for the Canadian defence industry. It costs a lot to conquer the world, and to keep it conquered.

But that's no problem for the very wealthy. Most of them don't pay taxes.
This should come as no suprise. Hillary Clinton was on the take, too.

note: I am available for speeches at a special discount - just $300,000. (autographs extra)
There have been lots of apologies to our native peoples for harm done to them over the last five centuries - the murder,  the starvation, the theft of land. But, after the apologies, we still haven't defined any way to make up for that.
The reality is that we destroyed the world they lived in, and we stole their land. There is no easy cure for that -  but we  haven't even begun to realize there is no easy cure.

And it seems most unlikely that Trudeau will do much of anything.
Canadians should not get smug about this next story. It's happening in Canada, too. We are watching the greatest plundering and greed in history. (But don't expect the irving press to notice it.)
We all know that those evil Germans caused both world wars. But the truth is that they certainly did not cause World War 1. I think the following story rather oversimplifies the case. I certainly think it's wrong in claiming that historians have lied about this. I am an historian - and I have read historical work that would support this article.  In broad terms, there's not much doubt that Germany's industrialization of the years leading up to 1914 was offensive to capitalists in Britain, France, and Belgium. And offending capitalists has long been a motive for war.

Now I wait for the book on why the U.S. waited until 1917 to join the war.
For change of pace, here's an item from a right-wing  medium.

Of course. American soldiers illegally attacked Afghanistan. They attacked a building Omar Khadr was in, killing every body but Khadr - but severely wounding him.

It was okay for Americans to illegally attack Afghanistan and to mass murder people  because, as we know, God blesses America. But Omar Khadr had the nerve (maybe - we don't know this) to shoot back!!! And shooting Americans is like shooting God.

The U.S. has been fighting ISIS (and often supplying with with money and weapons) for almost twenty years. Bombing Muslims may seem attractive to Americans because it doesn't create many U.S. casualties.  (The folks back home don't what to hear about casualties. That was the lesson of Vietnam.) But ISIS exists and attracts support BECAUSE of mass killing by the U.S. The U.S. is the chief recruiter for ISIS.

Of course, it's okay if the dead are shot by American police whose total kill for 2017 is 671, perhaps heading for a new record.

Here's the story about the most recent killing by American police. Obviously, this was a dangerous and vicious woman.
Haaretz remains one of the very few papers which are willing to print article critical of their financial/political  overlords.  

The ambition of president Netanyahu has been to impose a 'group-think' on Israel. To some degree,  he's been successful. But I've long known and admired an openess to flexible thinking in Judaism. I suspect it's built into the Judaic tradition.
Netanyahu is a dangerous man. It's been obvious for a long time he has wanted to destroy Palestine, and make it a part of Israel. He has already occupied a large part of Palestinian territory. And he's looking at other targets - Syria, Iran, Lebanon. He wants a Jewish state that will be the major power of the region. And the people of his target nations? That's their problem. Netanyahu wants to be bigger, much bigger.

And Israel has a nuclear arsenal.
I shall be away for a few days at the shore. (The pollution there is a much higher class of pollution than I can get in the city.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17: Disgusting stuff

This might be a  long and wordy one. Forgive me. It's because I'll be away at the shore at some point this week - and without a computer. As well, writing it got me thinking about  a lot of things - and I have added them.

This first item is not a repeat of that I have written before about the Khadr court settlement. This is about some very bad journalism by the CBC (which is usually better).

Read the above  carefully. This a prime example of bad, journalistic commentary. And from CBC, of all people.  It's full of emotional language and bad history. I think that The Legion has a right to be angry - but Khadr is not the one who cheated them. Our veterans have been cheated by their own governments - and by the Canadian people have haven't given a damn about the cheating - and by the wealthy   who don't pay their taxes.  (We can't afford the tax money we owe to our veterans? Ten million dollars would be a pittance to a wealthy family I can think of who get hundreds of millions in tax breaks every year.)

As to the commentary above...

1. The Canadian government has been slow (and cheap) in delivering benefits to veterans. Very true. But that is scarcely Khadr's fault. It is the fault of the government.  It is the fault of us for not caring enough to push the government.It is the fault of those very wealthy who won't pay any taxes to anybody for any purpose. It's the fault of a Journalist commentator who dispenses emotional propaganda instead of reasoned argument.

2. Canadian veterans are not allowed to sue the government for it's neglect. True. But that's not Khadr's fault. It's ours.

3. The Canadian government makes it hard for veterans to qualify for benefits. See above.

4. If veterans earn more money on their own, the government  deducts it from their benefits. See above.

By the way, if Mr. Irving makes more money on his own, do we deduct that from his benefits?

5. Veterans devoted their lives to defending Canada.

This is pure emotionalism. I have known many veterans from the the age of six when the boys from my father's scout troop came to our house to say goodbye. In them, as in veterans I met over the years, I can't think of one who had devoted his life to his country. And that was especially common early in the war.

In 1939, there were no jobs. My father's weekly pay, in a good week, was five dollars.  He would make another dollar or so after work by shovelling snow for the city. He didn't join the navy to serve his country. He joined to feed us.
My uncle joined to get away from his wife and two children. He was at Dieppe and D-Day. But all he ever talked about was the parties in England.

Bertie was a big kid who left school in grade four. He was an older kid who played with me because he was severely retarded. He joined the army while underage. (He stole the draft notice of his draft-dodging brother.) He joined because he loved the clicking sound his army boots made on the sidewalk. A man who was with him in his first action told me about it.

"We were lyin' on the ground with German machine-gun bullets cuttin' the air above us. Bertie was cryin'. Hell, he was only 16. Then, he jumped up screamin', and the machine gun cut him in half. Craziest thing, he was screamin' for his mother..."

Another, older friend joined the army to fight in Korea. He can scarcely be said to have been defending Canada, not  unless those Korean were building canoes to attack us. (In  fact, the only country to attack Canada in the last hundred and forty years has been the United States (the Fenian Raids).

Nor can I see what attacking Afghanistan or bombing Libya had to do with defending Canada. Nor can I see how provocatively posting Canadian troops very close to Russia has anything to do with defending Canada.

6. And our veterans devoted their lives to defending Canada?  That's an emotional term that has no connection with reality. Of all the veterans I met, there was only one who spent his whole, working life in the army. And he reason  had nothing to do with patriotism. He just liked the regularity of army life.
7.  O0000H! And Khadr fought against our ally.

Again, this is pure emotion. Anyone who studies wars knows that allies happily cut each other's throats. Canada was an adoring ally of Russia in WW2.  But the day the war ended, Russians became evil and hated by us.

In the last 70 years, the U.S. has slaughtered tens of millions all over the world. It has created some of the worst starvation the world has seen. It has destroyed the lives of tens of millions who are refugees. None of those countries it has attacked could possibly be a threat to the U.S. (has Guatemala ever invaded the U.S.? Has Cuba? Venezuela? Yemen? Libya? Iraq? Iran? Vietnam? Syria? Chile?)

And the people of Afghanistan shot back when Americans invaded them? How very unChristian of them!

And Canada has happily joined in the fun with its 'ally', especially when that could produce perks for Canadian corporations - as when the U.S. organized the murder of  200,000 innocent Maya in Guatemala. Among the murdered was a Canadian lay missionary from New Brunswick. He was murdered because he supported the Maya who were being annihilated by the US and the Guatemalan dictatorship. But our news media have never even told us about that.

Wasn't it just terrible that (or if)  Khadr killed one of those nice Americans who were just in AFghanistan to bring peace and joy?

That CBC column is all emotional crap, completely out of contact with reality. It reminds me of most of the North American news media.

Yes. Our veterans do deserve far better treatment than they have received from us. But that is not Omar Khadr's fault. That is the fault of us - all of us, including the wealthy who don't pay taxes.
Not long ago, I wrote about the possibility that the major capitalists of the world - notably the U.S., Russia and China  (with all their hangers-on) - might soon unite to rule the world as a supreme aristocracy. The article below suggests this might be underway.
The beauty of aerial bombing is that it saves the lives of soldiers. That's important to keep the folks at home pleased with the way things are going. U.S. enthusiasm for war drops when the body counts come home. But bombers can kill millions with small risk - especially in countries too poor to possess adequate air defences. That's why bombing has become THE major means of warfare for the U.S.

Of course, it indiscriminately kills huge numbers of civilians. But who gives a damn?

The writer of this article is an authority on the safest type of bombing (for the bombers) - the drone.

Oh, and watch for the Americanization of the Canadian armed forces as Trump puts the heat on Trudeau. Already, Canada is  training the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. seals, hired killers who (illegally) invade other countries to assassinate - and to kill a hell of a lot of innocent people (by mistake).

Or, as the Canadian Legion might put it, to devote their lives to serving Canada. Yes.
The irving press hasn't paid much attention to the chaos in Venezuela. That's understandable. It needs its whole staff to work full  time on the big stories - like people arrested for spitting on the street, and little boys flying kites.

But the Venezuela story is the story of Latin America, and how US corporations have, for more than a century looted, invaded, killed, done enormous destruction, created monstrous poverty all over the region.

And Canadians can be proud because Canadian corporations have been with the U.S. ones all the way. The want a continent in poverty, hunger, sickness and decay. It's good for profits. (Sometimes, I'm just so proud to be a Canadian!)
Ever wonder why the U.S. was so angry at Castro - and still is? After all, Castro overthrew a ruthless dictator who tortured and murdered his own people in very large numbers.   And Castro's first stop after winning power was to visit the U.S. for cooperation in rebuilding Cuba. Isn't it strange the U.S.  has been mad at him?


The ruthless dictator of Cuba had been appointed and financed by the U.S. because U.S. investors wanted a Cuba that was wretchedly poor, had no social services, and wages among the lowest in the world.

Castro was evil because he brought education, food, opportunities to the people of Cuba.

And the murderous dictator that Castro expelled? Well, I expect that, given a chance, the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce would have given a dinner in his honour.

And we are getting sucked into wars that benefit only billionaires. And, much as some like to babble about it, and, much as we lie about it, the soldiers we send are not "Fighting for their country". They are fighting for a small number of the greediest and most ruthless people on this planet.
Here's a possibly important story that I must have missed in the probing pages of the irving press.
This is what our major news media do repeatedly.
At last,  one nation - South Korea - is taking an intelligent approach to North Korea. It is holding talks with North Korea to cool tensions between the two countries.

This is an important story. That's why it's front page news for The Guardian. Today's front page news in the irving press? An American woman vacations in New Brunswick every summer because she likes it. Wow! Stop the presses!

We desperately need current events classes in our schools. But the irving press would never allow them - not real ones. New Brunswickers grow up and live, like most Canadians, without any access to the information they need to cast an informed vote.
Here's an opinion that applies to Canada and the U.S. as well as to Britain. The difference is that The Guardian expressed this opinion. The irving press never would.
Another story the irving press would never cover....

These mining companies are common examples of brutality and murder. If the mining owners were Muslims, we would say they are evil. But they aren't Muslims. So we praise them.
Here is a sample of the price we pay for news media that keep us in ignorance.
Israel have been dangerously abusing Palestinians by cutting off their electricity to as little four hours a day. (Try running a hospital on that.) But you won't find that story in much of the western news media. No. If you want to understand Israel - the good and the bad - you have to go to an Israeli paper - Haaretz.
The US has the worst  (and the most expensive) health care system in the developed world.  (And Canada is no champ, either.)  In the U.S., it's because private health care is, by definition, a disaster, and it's hopelessly expensive for the average person.

Capitalism is based on greed.  It's not designed to help those who aren't serously greedy.
Much of the below is true in Canada as well.
We're suckers for all the above because we're taught to believe in terms that we really don't understand - but are designed to help the most exploitive among us.
Notice how the ugly word capitalism is commonly replaced by the happier term, free enterprise. Notice how the act of murdering civilians 10,000 miles away is called 'defending one's country'. Oh, and those who take part in the killing are 'patriots' who are 'serving their country'.

Nobody knows what most of those terms mean. But they sound good. And, while nations are happy to praise their veterans  (after all, praise doesn't cost anything), few are willing to treat them very well. Our news media lie to us and/or use loaded language.

All these cutesie expressions are used to manipulate us. The purpose of it? To make the rest of us do the real work for the wealthiest, and to get as little as possible in return.

I'll talk about this next time. But first - answer this question - who won the Korean War? And another. When did the U.S. decide to attack Afghanistan and Iraq?   (That's crucial because it raises another question. Why did Canada send troops to Afghanistan? Exactly how were they "fighting for Canada"?)

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14: The World Tomorrow

Headline in the Irving papers - Killer gets life sentence with no chance of parole,  for a teen's murder. The killer is a twenty year old from a poor and severely dysfunctional family.

Just below it the story is the tale of a much more mature person in years, and a member of a wealthy family, who was found guilty a year ago of murdering his father apparently because daddy wouldn't give him enough money. However, he got bail almost immediately to appeal the case.
For five hundred years, the European powers (and now joined by the U.S. and Canada) have been murdering and plundering all over the world. Nobody will ever know how many people they murdered with guns and starvation and savage treatment. But they didn't go to jail. No, they became sirs and lords and 'philanthropists'.

At first it was the British and French and Spanish and Portuguese and Dutch and Belgians. Then it was the U.S. which has spent the last  70 in a murderous scramble to conquer the world. Like other empires, the American empire is designed to enrich capitalists. Thus, for the example, the mass murder of 200,000 of the Maya people in Guatemala - along with the murders of clergy who supported the Maya.

But the American empire seems to have stalled because of the growing strength of China, Russia and India. So what is the U.S. going to do?  Well, no-one can predict the future. However, there are signs.
For many years, capitalists have struggled to do two things.
1. To use the people and the money of the nation to fight their wars.
2. To avoid any obligation to serve the nation they belong to. This latter part explains why the propagandists for capitalism (like the irving press) constantly refer to the incompetence of public ownership and the marvelous efficiency of capitalism - and how allowing the rich to get even richer showers wealth on all of us. (creates jobs).

(In fact, that doesn't happen. As the rich avoid taxes, use us to finance there wars and constantly milk the national treasury for 'job creating' ventures, the rest of us are getting poorer, and have been getting poorer for many years.)

That's why the wealthy are so eager to get control of social services like medical care and, education and even police services.  It's all part of the massive shift of wealth from us to them. It's also why their political puppets have made it so easy for billionaires to avoid paying taxes. And it explains why recent trade deals have been designed to give massive profits to corporations for doing nothing at all.

It is becoming common for trade deals that touch on areas like the environment to include clauses that allow corporations to get massive payments for any new laws regarding environment which affect their profits. So - a mine is poisoning major waterways, killing fish and people - and the government passes a law to put an end to that?

Well, corporations are demanding a right to get payment for all the present and future profits that could, maybe, have been made. And the cases will be decided by an international court APPOINTED BY MAJOR CORPORATIONS. In short, the legislation becomes impossible.

This is not speculation. This is happening. Corporations are separating themselves from any responsibility for the societies they live in.

And now they can't conquer the world with  conquest?  No problem. They will conquer it by uniting  with the leading capitalists of China, Russia, and whoever else is coming along. While still controlling their governments, they will have no obligation whatever to their own countries.  (They've already achieved most of this. ) All that remains is to establish an aristocracy of billionaires, and they will, in effect, become the new rulers of the world.

Will it work?

No.  The eternal  problem of big business is that the only thing it knows how to do is to make a profit. It has, contrary to the babbling of professor Savoie, no capacity at all to govern. As well, big business is a prime cause of the great problems we face - over-population, destruction of the environment, exhaustion of forests, farmlands and other resources and, of course, climate change.

Corporations have never shown the brains to even recognize those problems. They are, in most issues of government, utterly brainless. They have done enormous damage as it is. There is no limit to the damage they will do  as the new rulers of the world.

In terms of governance, we have, for centuries, been going back to and even surpassing the greed and arrogance of the aristocracies of the middle ages. Democracy died a long, long time ago - if it ever existed.
If you have access to Netflix, I strongly recommend one of its films as a superb example of how we can be manipulated by propaganda. It's a wartime documentary called 'Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia'.

After the Russian revolution, we were all taught to hate the Soviet Union It was evil. Then Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and, suddenly, Russians were good. You'll see it all in this film. They're a happy, gentle people who wear folk costumes and who sing and dance. And always - at work, at play, they are smiling. (The word 'communist' never appears in the film.)

But the war ended. Within days, the Russians were evil again in our media. It's quite fascinating to see propaganda at work.
Think I was exaggerating about corporations suing governments who try to protect their environment? Then read this next one.
Canada once had vast flights of birds in our coastal area that one could see millions at a time. But they're long gone. In fact, most are now extinct. The same is true of wildlife and plant life. But the people who operate mines and oilfields don't have the brains  (or morality) to recognize what that means. And if the government interferes with them, they sue.
Chinese capitalism is a lot like western capitalism. The two  groups make natural buddies.
The irving press tells us that capitalism brings prosperity as the wealthy shower their profits on us. Like hell it does. For thousands of years, the people of Africa survived in their primitive lands. Then came c apitalism, first in the form of the slave trade, then in the form of rapacious capitalists on, perhaps, the greatest scale in history with uncounted millions killed to steal their lands (or just for the fun of it.) What the U.S. did to Iraq was barely an echo of the slaughter, starvations, brutalization inflicted by western capitalists - as in Congo.

And now, far from bringing prosperity, capitalism is bringing starvation.
And why don't we know about it? Because our news media represent the killers. So Canada and the U.S. will increase their corrupt defence budgets - and to hell with the starving people we have created.
The following photo is here just because it's fun. It's about a town in an American state where citizens are REQUIRED to carry guns. Notice the opening picture. All three guns in it date to the nineteenth century.  They're antiques. So why do people by antique guns for defence? Probably because people are caught up in the movie myth of a wild west in which people rode about shooting each other every day. (No such west ever existed.)

As in many other American perceptions of their history that shape their thinking to this day, the old west shoot 'em up was largely invented by the movies and TV.
Canadian mining companies have a brutal and murderous record in South America. You might want to think of that this Sunday while you are at the Irving chapel listening to the just lovely sermon by a reverend doctor (guaranteed not to offend man or beast)  and to special music.  And you might want to take a stroll to the Catholic graveyard down the street where Raoul Leger lies. And think about it.
It's important to understand that the American bombing of Mosul was not to help Iraq. We're already seen that the American government has no objection to killing innocent Iraqis all over the country. The bombing of Mosul was not to  help Iraq but to defeat ISIS. And if thousands of innocent Iraquis get killed in that -  tough.

Deliberate aerial bombing has been developing for almost a hundred years. It's become the major form of warfare, especially for wealth nations, because it produces few losses to upset the folks at home. Of course, it has also made wars the major killing fields for innocent civilians.

Discuss it over coffee at the barn of the Irving Chapel.
Feel confident that our governments are tackling the climate change problem? Then read  this.
Yes, armies torture prisoners. They all do. Yes. It's illegal under international law. Yes, the U.S. has officially been using torture on a grand scale at least since its war to conquer The Phillipines a hundred and twenty years ago. And Canada fully cooperated with U.S. torture in Afghanistan. Get used to it, Canadian Legion.
Not sure why I'm including this last one - except that it's a unique approach to the issue it discusses. But, in general, I don't see the difference between the U.S. and China. Neither is democratic. Both deny human rights. Both are dominated by a very upper capitalist class. What's the big dif?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12: Enough Hypocrisy

Forgive me for a long intro. Skip it if you like.  It's angry at first. Then it gets damned nasty and, in the view of many people, unpatriotic. (For which I make no apology whatever.)

The news tells me that   officers of the Canadian Legion are furious that the Canadian government has given some 10 million dollars in compensation to Omar Khadr. And, it seems, a majority of Canadians agree with The Legion.
These same people will turn out on Nov. 11 to remember those Canadians who served and those who died in service in Canada's wars. The trouble is that all those legion officers and a majority of Canadians have completely forgotten or ignored all that we said they served and died for.

I well remember appearing before a Senate committee,  one of the greatest gatherings of hypocrites and fools I have ever seen. This was the result of pressure from officers of the Canadian Legion who were incensed by a film on Canada in World War Two. Two sections had disturbed the legion. One dealt with the killing of German prisoners by Canadian troops. The other was about Canadians and our allies deliberately bombing civilians (Dresden).

Both stories were true. I got confirmation of the killing of prisoners from a general who had witnessed it. He had stood by a small river, and watched Canadian troops escorting the prisoners. Minutes later, he heard heavy fire - and then saw the German bodies come floating down the river.

As for the bombing of civilians, it is now well known to military historians that all the allied powers switched to the deliberate bombing of civilian targets to disrupt services, to kill war production workers, and to generally shatter both morale and productivity.

I wasn't the idea of our airmen to do this. It originated with Winston Churchill when he was secretary of colonies in 1920. He put down a rising of the Kurds with mass bombing of villages to destroy their will to resist. Hitler copied him in the Spanish civil war with the bombing of Guernica. Since then, it has become standard practice to target civilians, to kill indiscriminately. That's why civilian deaths in Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria have far exceeded military ones. That's why Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities of virtually no military importance, were chosen for the first nuclear bombs.
There's no-one to blame. That's simply what war is. But we pump up what war necessarily is, and make it glory (when our side does it). Or evil (when the other side does it.)

We surround war with a halo of purity and, well, and propaganda.
We will hear speeches on November 11 about those who fought for ' their country'. Sometimes they did. But the Boer War had nothing to do with Canada. Nor did the Korean War. Nor did the Afghanistan War. Nor the bombing of Libya. Nor the wars in Iraq or Syria. These were wars we entered to create the illusion of a world united behind the U.S. to fight evil people.

It's a mass propaganda to make the wars of American billionaires look virtuous. It has nothing to do  with defending Canada. It has nothing to do with national pride.

And that sort of thing is NOT what our veterans died for in two world wars. I wish the Canadian Legion could learn that.

This November 11, remember those who served in two world wars. But also what they fought for - and they did not fight for the Canada we now have that fights wars for wealthy Americans and for a U.S. that dreadfully abused a fifteen year old boy.

Let's hear less lofty rhetoric this Nov. 11, and more remembrance and respect for the reasons they fought.

Now I'll get nasty.

Let's drop the terms 'patriotic' and 'fighting for one's country'. Few people have any idea what they mean. These are words for masses that our leaders wants us to believe in  - though very few know what they mean.

In a military museum in Montreal there is a medal that was issued to my great, great uncle who was sent west to put down a 'rebellion' by Louis Riel whose Metis joined with the Cree and Assiniboine tribes who rose to repel the intrusion of Canadians onto their land.

My great-great uncle marched off in 1885 to the cheers of crowds and the propaganda of newspapers that used the words patriot and fighting for one's country - but what a pile that was.

The west had been owned by the Hudson Bay Company only because it had stolen the land from the native people. The Hudson Bay Company then sold it for Canada. But it was never Hudson Bay Company land to sell in the first place. And, far from being rebellious, Riel was quite prepared to swear loyalty to the Queen. What they did not want was hordes of land speculators pouring onto the the plains and taking their land.

So it was that my great-great uncle got a medal for being a patriot and fighting for his country. Three cheers. Louis Riel who fought for his own lands and his own people was not a patriot. So he was hanged.

Fifty years earlier there was a rebellion, the Mackenzie-Papineau rebellion in what is now Ontario and Quebec. This happened because the governments of those two colonies were not democratic. They were ruled, corruptly, by a handful of the wealthy and well-connected - much like New Brunswick today.
But 'patriots' were assembled to protect the power of the wealthy and well-connected.

In the Boer War, 'patriotic' Canadians 'fought for their country' by killing South African farmers to steal their gold mines for British millionaires. And Canadians cheered their patriotism. In the same way, Canadian pilots bombed Libya. How that reflected patriotism and fighting for Canada is beyond me. We have never been invaded by Libya (as we have been by the U.S.) Nor did the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Korea have anything to do with us. (The story we were there to defend the peaceful people of South Korea is bunk. South Korea was a dictatorship which frequently attacked North Korea - which also attacked the South. So I guess the North Koreans and South Koreans were being patriotic and fighting for their countries.    But we weren't. We were fighting for the American Empire just as we had fought for the British Empire in South Africa.)
We should be more careful in using words like 'patriotism' and 'fighting for one's country'. These are deliberately vague words to prevent us from thinking about what we're doing. They are words used to sucker us into wars that we should not fight.

The officers of The Canadian Legion should, of all people, be aware of the real meaning of those terms. They should also, on Nov. 11, not only remember the dead but should remember what they died for. There were promises we made to them. We were going to work for a better world of equal opportunity and of ending war.

We have not done that. We have betrayed those who served and died in two, world wars. And The Canadian Legion, of all organizations, has encouraged that betrayal as we now fight imperial wars for thieving and murderous billionaires .
And The Legion might also look into what we did to a great many veterans in 1919. Demobilized patriots who had fought for their country found a Canada dominated by employers whose greed for profits meant dreadful salaries and few social services. So those in Winnipeg launched a general strike.

The wealthy were not pleased. They had the government call up troops and, on at least one occasion, facing strikers who had fought in World War Two, the Canadian soldiers were ordered to fix bayonets against our 'patriots' who had fought for their country.

The Legion Canadian Legion might consider that, and remember that they are supposed to serve the veterans, not just the wealthy.
One of the the great achievements (we are told) of Canada is that it won the right to declare war for itself. That was supposed to be a triumph of our development as an independent nation. Now, it seems that over a 100 Canadian military people are on exchange with military people of other countries. And it seems likely that some are serving in combat roles.

That's what is called being at war. And to be at war, the Canadian government has to declare that we are at war. It has not done so. In fact, the department of national defence refuses to say anything about it. And that means it is happening.
And that means Canada is illegally at war. And that is what our political leaders call 'patriotism' and 'fighting for our country.' In fact, they are actually fighting wars for the American Empire.
As we all know from our Irving press, climate change is not happening. So the following story is obviously a fake.

Hey, we need an oil pipeline. It will create jobs.
You're not likely to read about this in the irving press. It only runs big stories like "BC family rebuilding home lost in fire." (That's World News, of course.) Another big story in World News is that a boy in BC spray-painted his horse pink. The news YOU need to know.

We are facing enormous problems of climate change, extinction of species, exhaustion of food supply- partly by out of control population growth, partly by chemical abuse of the soil. New Brunswick has, however, solved the last of those problems. It fired the Chief Medical Officer who warned about it.
Do you still buy the irving press line that private business does a better job than government?
I've included the whole Americas section of The Guardian.
New Brunswickers should pay close attention to this next one. Despite the opinions of the professor Savoie's of this world, wealth does NOT trickle down to us from the wealthy. The wealthy of this world are doing what they have always done - gobbling up all the money and ensuring we get less and less.
In the long run that is destructive and dangerous behaviour. But the very wealthy have always been destructive and dangerous to a degree that nullifies any intelligence they they might have.
For most of my life, social circle was Jewish. I frequently was a guest speaker in synagogues. For fifteen years, I was a monthly speaker at a major, Jewish library in Montreal. I sometimes criticized Israel - as I might criticize any other country. It was  no problem.

But Israel maintains groups, very influential ones, called Israeli lobbies, who got control of Jewish organizations to enforce uncritical support for Israel. The result was I was fired as a radio commentator to be replaced by a leading Israeli lobbyist. I was also replaced by an Israeli lobbyist at the Jewish library.

Israel has vastly changed with resulting damage to the Jewish community and to Judaism. And it has become a persecutor of Palestinians as Hitler was a persecutor of Jews. But if you want to learn about what's gone wrong with Israel, you won't find it in most of the western press. The best source is the very honest and very intelligent Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Canadian corporations, like American and British ones, have been guilty of dreadful abuses , of miniscule pay, of beatings, of environmental destruction and even of murder all over the world. But almost none of this ever reaches the pages of any western newspaper.

Raoul Leger, a lay missionary to Guatemala who lies buried just a short drive from where I am sitting, was murdered by the Guatemalan army working with U.S. special agents while they were in the process of murdering 200,000 Mayans as well as any priests, missionaries or nuns who tried to help the Maya.
The Canadian government fully knew about it. It knew Canadian companies were involved. It did nothing. The irving press never even carried the story of his death. Perhaps the worshippers at the Irving Chapel will take the short walk from the Irving Chapel to Leger's grave to think about that. (Well, No. They won't. They need that time for coffee and fellowship at the chapel barn.)

Not everybody admires the Canada that is the pet poodle of the U.S. empire.
And t his is too true.

Amazing how the rich are always the ones begging for government money. Wouldn't it be nice if you could ask the government for help with the rent the way Mr. Irving asks for million dollar grants and tax forgiveness?
I despise the Liberal and the Conservatives. I  have sympathy for the Greens, but don't think that have any realistic sense of what is needed. I  have always supported the NDP - but, oh it has been tough to see it become simply a more honest version of the Liberals. And very tough to tolerate its wimpiness in New Brunswick.

However, the writer of this piece is a pretty shrewd commentator. So things could be looking up for the NDP.
There are lots of stories about Trump in the news. I haven't included any because they don't matter.  Trump is certainly an ass. But he's not the problem. The problem is that the U.S. is one of the most heavily propagandized in the world. It has long since lost touch with any reality. Democrat or Republican doesn't matter. And I see no sign of more imaginative or intelligent thinking.

Americans generally accept the lead of billionaires - and greed trumps need. (No pun intended.) Watch for the real disaster that has yet to hit that country.
The irving press is carrying virtually no news about the horror that is Yemen, about how our side (patriots fighting for their countries) are murdering and starving  innocent people on a grand scale.
Onward, Christian soldiers.
To be an activist in any social cause  (like environmentalism) frequently means death in South America. The killers? Could be hired by government. Could be hired by foreign corporations. They're all in it together. But don't wait to read about it in the irving press.
This story tells something about the behaviour of the ultraconservative Jews who, though a minority, have been given enormous power by the Israeli government.

Only in Haaretz.
Here's a story of many years ago that many North American news media still haven't even mentioned.

Only in Haaretz. It's a good paper.
This is one damning attack on the intolerance of the Israeli government. Again, the irving press would never consider running this story. And, again, the story is by Haaretz, a paper that has the courage to challenge the powers in its own country.
71% of Canadian oppose Omar Khadr's settlement from the Canadian government. Mr. Irving asks for tens of millions at a time. And nobody says a word.

The Canadian government was wrong in ignoring Omar Khadr. Our news media were wrong for not having any independent and intelligent analysis of the case. Canadians were wrong in supporting this illegal war in the first place. And, obvously, Canadians - probably the same ones that babble about 'patriots who fight for their country'  - haven't understood the idea of human rights that Canadians were told to fight and die for in World War 2.

This November 11, let's cut out the self-righteous crap, and think seriously about we have failed all that we said our veterans fought for. And then let's get busy on fixing it.
And it's supper time. And I'm hungry.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 5: Should North Korea have nuclear weapons?

No. Nor should anybody else. To get all mad at North Korea is silly when the far greater dangers are the U.S., China, and Russia. (And the U.S. would never use such weapons? It is the only country in the world that ever  has.

I shall be away about a week seeing relatives - so this blog will be a little different. The first half will be about something that annoys  ( infuriates) me. So skip it if you don't like fury.

This began with a poll that recently appeared in my local paper. It said that something like 97% of all Canadians see religion a a major concern. American polls show similar results..

What the bloody hell!

Those nice people in Saudi Arabia are deliberately starving millions of the poorest people in the middle east to death.l  And, yes, all people - men, women, the elderly, babies.... Thousands have already died. The God-fearing U.S. air force is helping out by cluster bombing the same people. That nice Mr. Trudeau has helped out by  (illegally) selling armoured cars to machine gun the starving.
The U.S. has the biggest defence budget in history. Well, yes. It has to defend itself. After all,  the innocent US has to protect itself because in all its history, it's been attacked----wait for it ------twice. The first attack was by British troops who hit Washington - because the U.S. had invaded Canada.

For a nation that hardly anybody has ever attacked,  the U.S. has fought uncountable wars, more than 70 just since World War 2. It began with the mass slaughter of its own, native peoples, Then  it invaded Canada (and helped out in a second invasion of Canada by Irish Americans), killed at least hundreds of thousands in Latin America - Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Haiti, Cuba, Chile....(Can you imagine the horror for those poor Americans having to defend themselves against Cuba and Haiti?) Then there was the mass murder and torture in conquering The Philippines.

Ever wonder why it took the U.S. so long to enter World War 1? It's because they didn't give a damn what happened to Britain and France.  In fact, American business prayed to their American God to defeat Britain and France. Then they could scoop up the British and French colonies and murder and loot them just as the British and French had.  But when it began to look as though the British and French would win World War One, the U.S. joined them  so it could get a share in the spoils.

World War Two went much the same route. The U.S. didn't join that one for over two years. It wanted France and Britain to lose so it could take China and the middle east.

Ever wonder why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour? It was because they knew the U.S. was planning to attack them.  (No. It wasn't just because Japanese were sneaky. They wanted China, too. and they knew they knew the U.S. would attack Japan so it could get China, and it would have to seriously weaken the U.S. navy to survive such a war.)

World War Two turned out well for the U.S. because this time it was able to grab much of the British oil industry in the middle east. But it missed the big prize, China, when Britain refused an American order to let an American puppet take it.
Otherwise, the U.S. became the murdering and looting power that Britain and other western Christians had been for centuries.

American Christians have been murdering all over the world ever since 1945. Onward Christian soldiers? Like hell.  Our churches must have a version of The Bible that I've never seen, a version that says murder is good, stealing is good, and all other religions aren't like Christianity because they're evil.

European Christianity. too, is quite a model to follow. Britain killed millions by starvation in India. The British had good stocks or food for them. But it refused to feed them. When Churchill was asked about it, he said it was their own fault because they were breeding like rabbits.

Since 1945, the U.S. has been consumed by a desire to rule the world.   (After all, those other people aren't nice like us western Christians are. No.) The real ambition of course, is to loot the whole world to meet the unsatisfiable ambitions of a small number of stunningly greedy people.)

But you'd never know that from following our news media, (most of which are owned by the stunningly greedy.) And the Canadian ones, like pet dogs,trot along behind the American ones, sniffing their masters' rear ends in obeisance.
The reality is we are at least as evil as any humans who have ever existed. And our evil is coming very close to destroying - us.

Soon on Nov. 11, we will remember those who died to, so we were told, make this a better world. But the whole world today looks like a giant Nazi Germany. This is not what our soldiers, sailors and airmen died for. We owe them more than thanks.  We owe a monster apology for how we have betrayed all that we said they died for.

Sorry that was long. It gets frustrating to try to get this message through. We dreadfully abuse other nations. We dreadfully abuse our own people. We dreadfully abuse ourselves. There's no need to look for evil. it's us.

If we are going to survive, we cannot go on fighting these wars. We have enormous problems facing us - climate change, massive food shortages, lack of any leadership in ending wars before they end us.

Evil is not just on the other side. Sometimes (often) it's also on our side.
Seymour Hersh  has had a brilliant career as a journalist who tells the truth. That's why many, major media don't carry his stories.
This is further to the Seymour Hersh article above. It tells us something when North American news media refuse to publish work by one of the most intelligent and honest journalists of our time.
To call the war in Yemen U.S. backed, is putting it gently. The U.S. is a full partner in this brutal war against Yemen. It supplies the Saudi invasion. It bombs heavily. it is deliberately cutting off all food to millions of people.   The language in this article shows bias. But the bias has truth on its side.
Yes, when North Korea fires a nuclear missile, it sets up a dangerous situation for the whole world. Nuclear missiles do that. There is no safe way of having them. Our news media will be wild over nuclear tests by North Korea. But they're much more relaxed over the far bigger stockpiles of the U.S., Britain,France, Russia, China, Pakistan, India and Israel. Every one of those has made this world a more dangerous place. And, in over 70 years, we have only made the situation worse.

There are very severe limits to what a North Korean missile programme could achieve. All those other countries are far, far more dangerous. But we just give a big yawn at danger.

Some day, all those weapons will go off. And a North Korean rocket would be a very minor player, indeed. Ignoring almost all those stockpiles of weapons while cracking down on North Korea will have no effect whatever.

So long as this world  has nuclear weapons, it is certain that someone will fire them. And when that happens it's over for all of us. The nuclear problem is not  North Korean one. It's an American, British, French, Chinese, Russian, Pakistan, India, Israel problem. To treat it in any other way will satisfy this world's village idiots. But it will do nothing whatever to reduce the danger.

It would make far, far more sense to get all the nuclear nations together to disarm. The alternative? The only alternative is mutual destruction.
The Canadian constitution says that Canada cannot go to war unless parliament votes for it. It does not say we can go to war without such a vote if we promise not to take a combat role or if we only shoot people who are 350 metres away.
And, in purely practical terms, the defeat of ISIS in Iraq is a)none of our business b) essential only for U.S. oil billionaires and c) will have minimal impact on the divides we have created in the Muslim world.

But, minimally, if are to go to war even in just a supporting role parliament  has to vote for it.
Is there such a thing as the Canadian empire? You bet. It has been on had for the best part of a century to help Canadian billionaires deal with troublesome workers in the factories and mines that Canadians own all over the world. And we're stepping up our spending on our empire.

That's what our increased defence budget is all about - as well as being a hand-out for the valiant leaders of our defence industries. The Dr. Savoies of this world tell us we have to cut down on government spending for, say, education, health.........  Damn right. We need that money for important things like propping up dictatorships that are kind to Canadian business.
The item below might seem trivial. But it's a good sample of the way big business acts toward any form of life - including us.  All that counts is profit.  Of course, it will sell off tigers it promised to protect. What else could we expect? Business murdered 200,000 people in Guatemala. It murdered a million and a half in Iraq. It is starving millions to death in Yemen.  Do you really think that you would be an exception?
Steven Harper was vile and contemptible. Trudeau is proving to be even worse.
Israelis have a right to abuse and murder arabs and to steal their land. After all, Hitler killed Jews.

Love Haaretz - still think it's the best newspaper in the world.
And now, I'm off for a week to the polluted waters of our north shore.

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3: problems ignored.

I'm starting this on a Sunday, and the first part will be about the news of New Brunswick in the Irving press.

Actually, there is no news in the Irving press. Well, the front page has a big story that three weeks ago, some trees blew down in the cemetery. So the city is going to clean it up.

There's nothing at all that could be called news in the world section.

The commentary page has an absurd article on a study of what Canadian values are. Canadians say they value cultural differences. Like hell they do. This country has a strong record of racism and dislike of people who are 'different'.
And Canadians believe in gender equality? So how come there's so little of it?
And, oh yeah, Canadians believe in bilingualism. Bunk. I lived most of my life in Quebec, a province that forbids bilingualism. And it gets very little attention in most of the country. (New Brunswick is the only honourable exception.)
This is simply a chart of 'nice' questions with 'nice' answers.

One could make up any list on this sort of thing. For example - it's a Canadian value to dislike street beggars. It's a Canadian value to segregate people by race. In Montreal, for example, African-Canadians were limited to a ghetto until very, very recently. So were Chinese. So were Jews.

The same page has, blessedly,  the final of a series of columns by Professor Savoie. Bits of it are extremely annoying.  He feels, for example, we need to turn big business loose, and let it do whatever it likes. (Don't we do that now?)   We should let them drill for shale gas Yeah. More gas is what this shriveling world needs.

And we need to stop taxing big business.  (Professor Savoie, do you read only the Irving press? In fact, the weatlhy hide their money, and many haven't paid taxes for decades.)

Professor Savoie seems incapable of seeing governments as being anything but servants of big business. It's as though he thinks that the ONLY purpose of government is to serve business. With that done, big business will shower down wealth and prosperity on the rest of us.

Well, no. The history of western governments has been kissing up to big business. And the result is always the same. The benefits do no shower down. The reverse happens. The money goes  into the pockets of the rich who then can spend it  anywhere in the world. In short, most of the money we  tive to the wealthy is gone and gone for good. They will then invest it where people can be exploited to work for peanuts. Professor Savoie, don't you know that for some years wealth has been moving from the poor to the rich? The growth of poverty in the U.S. has been particularly noticeable over the past forty years or so.
Professor Savoie shows no sense whatever that the role of government should be to benefit the whole population. It's NOT about making billionaires richer. It's about serving the needs of the whole populaton. And billionaires don't give a damn about the needs of the whole population.

That also means that big business should be controlled by government. It has no right to go off on its own ignoring government.

This is all couched within a suggestion that the maritime provinces should unite. And so they should. But it won't do the people a bit of good if the only purpose of the union is to help the rich rip us off even more.

Reading this commentary conjures up an image of Professor Savoie writing it while holding hands with Mr. Irving.

Oh, this commentary, like all the commentaries at the top of this page, features a very large photo which tells us nothing. So why do these commentaries have those big photos? It's because a photo is a very cheap way to fill space in a newspaper.

Incidentally, how could professor Savoie write such a long series of commentaries without mentioning what taxes the Irvings don't pay, and how much it costs us in handouts for them to live in the style they are accustomed to.
The other excitement of the weekend paper is its ad for Sunday worship at the Irving chapel. With "Special" music.  I wonder if the rented preacher will talk about the need for governments to pay more attention to the needs of the general population.  I wonder if he'll talk about Christian sharing of the wealth of this province.

And will he mention the Acadian lay missionary who was murdered by American and Canadian big business in Guatemala, and who lies just a short distance away?

Nah. That would just spoil the sweetness of coffee and chats in the chapel barn.
And The Guardian proves it has a sense of humour. But don't kid yourself. This is true.
Ever notice that our news media seldom tell us what all our wars are about? Usually they just say it's because the other country's ruler is a "bad man". Saddam Hussein was a bad man. So that's why it was necessary to murder a million and a half people, most civilians. The ruler of LIbya was a 'bad man".   That's why Canadians had to bomb so many "good people", and why a "good guy" on our side had to kill the Libya "bad guy" by running a dagger up his rear end. Syria's leader is a "bad guy".  But the majority of the Syrian people don't seem to realize that because they support him. So we've had to kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians to bring real democracy to the survivors - if any.  Here's a pretty good summary of it.
Trump has certainly been guilty of childish and atrocious behaviour in his dealing with the news media. But we also have to recognize the dishonesty and lying of the American news media. It illustrates again that the problem is not Trump.  Trump is simply the product of a corrupt and decaying American society. Electing, say, Hillary Clinton, would not solve any problem. We are watching the crash of the American empire.
We often brand people with their religion as though all people of any one religion are the same. So it is that most North Americans will think of all Muslims as being the same. That's how Trump was able to win so many votes on his racist platform. All Muslims, all Mexicans were bad.

The reality is that there are many, many differences between the many subdivisions of any religion. Muslim are tremendously divided into variations of Islam.  Jihadists tend to belong to a subdivision of Islam that is severely orthodox, intolerant and brutal in its laws. Saudi Arabia is dominated by such Moslems, and it is far, far apart from most Moslems in Syria or Iraq - or anywhere else.

Curiously, the extreme Muslims of Saudi Arabia are the ones who are the closest friends of the U.S. government.

The same is true of Christians. There's a considerable gap between Roman Catholics and Jehovah Witnesses. Even within a single church  (like the Anglicans) there can a wide range of differences. Check racism in the U.S. You're likely to find it much more pronounced in some religious groups than in others.

The same is true of Jews. They can range from the ultraorthodox of severely strict views to far more moderate groups. Israeli government is dominated by the ultra, ultra  orthodox though they are a distinct minority within Israel, and highly intolerant of any religious views but their own severe, rule-ridden and narrow one. They are also the most ferocious persecutors of Muslim Israelis and of Palestinians.

Many (a majority) of Jews in all countries are reacting against the power of the ultraorthodox Jews in Israel. But they are what is keeping Netanyahu in power. And he is so anxious to maintain their support that Netanyahu has recently attacked Jews all over the world for being critical of them.

Curiously, our news media have paid little attention to the reality of these profound religious differences. To speak of Jews or Muslims or Christians as though one label fits all is both ignorant and dangerous.

(I am reminded of a recent column in the Irving press about how North Americans have strong religious values - something like 95% of thos surveyed agreed with that. Get real.

If that many North Americans had strong religious values, our churches would be jammed on Sundays. And the homeless would not be sleeping in streets. And American police would not be be killing  a thousand people a year. And the American poor would not be losing their health care.  And the U.S. government would not have killed millions of people all over the world since World War Two - and billionaires would pay their taxes.)
Canada's tar sands are dead. Even if they didn't cause fatal damage for the planet, they would be dead. Trudeau doesn't recognize that.

I could wish Canadians would show as much anger as the British are showing. But, no, instead we get a column from Professor Don Savoie that we have to cut down on government spending on frills like education, housing so we can spend more on a corrupt defence industry, and spare the rich from the agony of paying taxes.
No. I am not an admirer of Justin Trudeau.

I add this because Lester Pearson, Canadian prime minister in the 1960s, saw all this coming. He saw the mass suicide that nuclear war would be. He saw the danger of Canada becoming a colony to the American empire.

We haven't begun to think about the implications of climate change. Israel, for example, is already worried about its water supply And that will get worse, much worse, as climate change spreads. Israel has already attacked  Syria, primarily to get more water from the region. The water problem is going to get worse.  Israel has a nuclear arsenal.

O-o-o-ooh! Is it possible Russia would get alarmed at a major Israeli attack on Syria?

But not to worry. We have so many nuclear weapons in this world that nobody would ever use one. Unless they really, really had to.

The reality is that our political leadership is not dealing with any of the major problems we face. If we have nuclear weapons, then someday somebody will use them. If climate change continues we will very soon be fighting climate wars just for basic survival. (No. I don' t mean in fifty years. - more like five.)

Instead of dealing with our problems, the wealthy are making them worse, much worse, by redistributing the world's wealth from all of the rest of us to themselves. That's pretty stupid because we are coming to the point at which there is so little money left to take that the very wealthy won't be able to make profits any more. But the very wealthy are often stupid and selfish and short-sighted. We have centuries of history to prove that.

The reality is that we have come to a point at which we can no longer afford this stupidity and greed. And wars are no longer feasible because the next big one   will be world-wide and totally destructive. And increasing climate change is sure to create wars.

Nor has fighting wars been very useful for the past seventy years. We have lost almost all of them - Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, probably Iraq, probably Syria..... And the reaction of our fearless leader, Justin Trudeau? We will increase our defence budget to help our good friend, Mr. Trump. (and to boost profits for our corrupt defence industry.)

Oh - I shall have family visiting very soon, so the blog may become a bit irregular for  two or three weeks. I shall be going down to the shore to swim in our delightfully polluted waters. (Nobody's doing anything about that, either.)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1: For Canadians only on Canada Day

Oh, all   the news media and politicians will talk about what a glorious country this is. And, I certainly think this is the best country in the world to live in.
But this is one hell of a terrible world. For a dose of reality, let's take a look at the career of the much-honoured William Grant Stairs of  Halifax. Stairs Street in that city is named for him. Royal Military College in Kingston has a plaque honouring him. So does St. George's Cathedral in Kingston. It's all because he led an expedition to Congo in the service of Congo's ruler, King Leopold of Belgium.  
Leopold was forcing the people of Congo to work in the mines of the region. And there was a daily quota for production. And it a worker didin't make his quota, his head was cut off, and one hand was cut off. Baskests of hands became conversation pieces in the best homes.

Stairs hired himself out to the king. He didn't worry about quotas. He simply slaughtered. He killed millions, and starved uncounted numbers by destroying crops. Women and children were rounded up to be slaves, and work in the mines. He also collected heads and hands of the dead. As Justin Trudeau might put it, he was helping our good friends, the Belgians. So he became a hero of Canadian history.

Canada would later repeat that act,   this time to help our friends in Britain slaughter Dutch farmers in South Africa - and to allow some fifteen thousand of their wives, children and elderly to die in Canadian prison camps.  It was to help British millionaires steal South Africa's gold. (Yes. I know the Dutch settlers were vicious racists. So were the British we fought for. So, for that matter, was Canada.)

Hey, ya gotta  be a good neighbour, says Justin. And that's why we gotta help our good friends in the U.S. as we did in Korea and Libya and Afghanistan and now in Iraq and Latvia.... I mean, these are treacherous countries that could attack us at any time.

(And we won't bother with the fact the only   countries to invade Canada have been our good friends in France and Britain (which means the ancestors of millions of us)....and our good friends in the U.S. The latter invaded three times - in 1775, in 1812 and just between the U.S. civil war and confederation. It also threatened invasion several times, the last one in 1904.) One might also note that our "good friends" in the U.S. were in no hurry to come to the help of Canada, Britain, or France in 1914 and in 1939.

A major incentive to unite the colonies from Nova Scotia to Upper Canada was the encouragement of the US which allowed Fenians (Irish rebels) to arm and drill in the U.S., and to invade Canada. A railway was essential to defend Canada against further American attacks.

It had also become essential economically. Railways had brought an economic revolution to the world. And they had become essential for national economies.
Fear of a U.S. invasion and the need more rapid, mass transit is what lay behind confederation. (New Brunswick had a few railways. But they were small and didn't go anywhere.)

But railways were expensive to build. British capitalists were eager  to build railways in Canada but, as capitalists usually are, they didn't want to risk their own money. They needed a government and population big enough to guarantee their borrowed money.

And that's why confederation happened. Many politicians would grow wealthy out of that. Among them were John A. Macdonald and Charles Tupper.  (Yes, they and some others were on the take.)

Oh, and PEI? It didn't join. And nobody cared because, geographically, it didn't matter.
Am I happy to be a Canadian this Canada Day? You bet. It beats any country I can think of. It's been possible for me to live a life that would have been impossible in most of the world. If I'd been born in Iraq, I might have been shot by a Canadian sniper by now. Or have died of poisoning from depleted uranium shells. If I'd been born in Vietnam, I might now be picking my way across a field poisoned by agent orange. In Yemen, I might be starving to death thanks to the US, or blowing up from cluster bombs, or geting shot by an armoured car built in Canada. If I'd been born a Maya in Guatemala, I could have been working in a Canadian mine at starvation wages, or I could have been killed along with  the 200,000 murdered by the U.S. and Guatemala with full knowledge and cooperation of the Canadian government.

I would even claim to be proud to be a Canadian though, actually, getting born here was not my idea. Still, it's been good.

But we have to be very careful. The U.S. is going for world domination. And, like the Congo campaign of William Grant Stairs, it's all based on brutality, murder and greed.

We're also living in a world in which democracy is being crushed by a super-wealthy class who are the ones behind the mass murder in this world. And that class, all over the world, is becoming a class that rules all nations but doesn't really belong to any of them. We're moving back centuries to the class brutalities that characterized the middle ages and, before that, the Roman Empire in its declining years.

And Canada's role, in the eyes of Justin Trudeau   (and many other P.M.s) is to kiss up to U.S. billionaires as William Grant Stairs kissed up to King Leopold.
I'm very lucky to have been born a Canadian. But I'm damned if I will send Canadians to die in billionaires' wars.